General Motors and PSA Group collectively shocked the industry, media and even Opel senior management when both automakers confirmed a possible acquisition of the Opel/Vauxhall brands by PSA was in play.
However, Opel CEO, Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann, has been planning a monumental shift at the blitz brand for some time. A new report by Automotive News states Neumann has been hard at work developing a plan to turn Opel into a completely electrified automaker in Europe.
The strategy has reportedly been in development for months to ensure Opel’s survival in the marketplace. The plans were likely coming to a tipping point, too, with GM’s board scheduled to vote on the matter in May of 2017. Opel would utilize the architecture underpinning the Chevrolet Bolt EV to presumably develop a slew of battery electric vehicles.
Gasoline powered vehicles would be phased out by 2030 and the division would be split into an “old” and “new” Opel until then.
However, top Opel management was shocked to learn of the brand’s potential sale to PSA Group, and the report states only Neumann himself may have known about the discussions prior to the French and U.S. automakers confirming the discussions.
Amid the news, the potential merger and sales talk asks many more questions than it answers. Though, it could open a door once again for Chevrolet to finally become GM’s global brand.